Review: ‘Doctor Strange’ Is A Mesmerizing Experiment That Transcends Marvel
When you have a favorite band, you always want your favorite songs to be played at the concert. The longer you like the band, the more songs there will be for the band to choose from. Over the years of loving that band, you probably won’t hear the songs you want to hear. More and more albums mean more and more songs. This seems to be where Marvel is headed. More and more films mean more characters to try and fit into and Avengers movie. I don’t find this to be a bad thing, but I do see it to becoming a problem after a while. That being said, Doctor Strange is one of the more obscure character is Marvel if you happened to ignore the X-Men cartoon from the 1990’s. I know of him as an all powerful sorcerer who showed up and made everyone look worthless, but I never knew much about the character’s beginning.
When I first heard a movie was being made, I knew instantly that Benedict Cumberbatch should play the lead role. He has that commanding presence like Gandalf, who could command the attention from all of the Avengers if he raised his voice. After he was eventually cast as Doctor Stephen Strange, I knew that his casting would bring in some other big names. That it did: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton all joined the cast. Marvel has a cast of characters that could and have filled up an auditorium for the Academy Awards. But does the talent match the story? Yes. Hell yes!
Premise: Marvel’s Doctor Strange follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This movie, to be honest, is basically plotted similarly to Iron Man: Arrogant genius who goes through a huge injury, tries to fix everything himself, changes self radically, and be becomes a hero after realizing the world doesn’t orbit him. Just like that movie, it adds humor to the perfect spots in the movie. Seeing Benedict Cumberbatch do humor was weird, which is why it works so well since you don’t expect it coming.
Doctor Strange is an origin story, but if the character was just tossed into a movie later on without any background, the audience would be confused. What it does well is introduce all the magic and how Strange learns how to use it. Since he is a genius doctor with perfect recall, he let his brain drink in all the spells that the entire magic library Wong (Benedict Wong) protects.
One problem I had with the movie that I have with many Marvel films is that there is not enough villain. Mads Mikkelsen is amazing at being a bad guy, but he doesn’t get enough screen time or exposition. We get a little bit of his Modus Operandi, but not enough. There could be a prequel explaining why he went bad, but it would only be about a half an hour long, so it’s really no big deal.
Visually, the movie is mind-blowing. From the opening of the movie, everything you see that is part of the other realm will make you wonder how the CGI people pulled it off. I look at M.C. Escher paintings all the time and get confused how he locked it all in on the canvas, but this film really swung hard and connected with bringing that look to life. The parts where the buildings are moving in the trailer is nothing when you sit through and watch all of it. There were moments where I forgot what the context was for what was happening on the screen because I was too busy watching all the manipulation of reality happen. I just shoot my head and mouthed, “How the f….?
When it all comes down to it, Doctor Strange is one of the best Marvel films to date. It could stand on its own if it came out right now and no other Marvel films to set it up existed. I plan on seeing it again on IMAX just so I can experience the visuals on a larger scale. I’m glad Marvel decided to take another chance on a property that many casual comic books fans don’t know much about. Not only did they take a chance, they brought some of the best talent in the world to take a chance with them.
Doctor Strange is rated PG-13 (parents strongly cautioned) for supernatural violence. It comes out Friday, November 3rd, 2016.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post,UPROXX,BGR and by just looking up his name.